Australia's tour of India came to a damp end on Friday, when the deciding game of the three-match Twenty20 International (T20I) series at Hyderabad was called off without a ball being bowled due to a wet outfield.
India were favoured to emerge winners in the T20Is after they won the ODI series 4-1, and their commanding nine-wicket win over the visitors in Ranchi further emphasised that point. Australia, who were without the services of Steve Smith and Pat Cummins due to injuries, bounced back in style with an eight-wicket thrashing of the hosts in Guwahati, levelling the series 1-1.
But with things set up nicely for a showdown at Hyderabad, relentless showers for nearly three weeks leading into the match caused the outfield at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium to remain soaked, forcing match officials to declare it unfit for play.
The T20Is, which came after a one-sided ODI series, saw a more even contest between the two sides. The wrist-spin pair of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal, who seem to have cemented their spots in the Indian limited-overs side, experienced success in Ranchi but were taken to the cleaners by Henriques and Travis Head in Guwahati. Interestingly, sides batting first made identical scores of 118 in the two matches, highlighting the dominance of the bowlers in a format that typically favours batsmen.
A shared trophy also gave Australia some consolation after the flak they received for their recent performances, and provided a fresh reason to smile before they shift focus to the Ashes.
Let's summarise India's run in the T20I series by rating players according to their performances, arranged in descending order of points:
Jasprit Bumrah (7/10): The pacer was more accurate in the T20Is than he was in the ODIs. While Kuldeep was the toast of the Indian bowling performance in Ranchi, Bumrah kept things tight at the other end, also picking two wickets in his second spell. His dismissal of Warner early in the Australian innings in Guwahati pumped the hosts who were defending a modest total.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar (7/10): Bhuvneshwar was off to a brilliant start in Ranchi, dismissing stand-in captain David Warner in the very first over, before a couple of expensive overs ruined an otherwise fine performance. However, he made up for it in the next game with an economical performance of 1/9 from three overs, albeit in a losing cause. In the end, he turned out to be the only Indian bowler with an economy rate of less than six per over.
Kuldeep Yadav (6/10): Kuldeep had a brilliant outing in Ranchi, bowling a game-changing spell in which he barely gave any runs away while sending Aaron Finch and Henriques back to the dugout, a performance that earned him the 'Man of the Match'. In the next game though, he had a forgettable outing, leaking 46 runs from his four overs. An expensive end to what has been a outstanding run against the Australians, which included a hat-trick at the Eden Gardens.
Yuzvendra Chahal (6/10): The other wrist spinner also found success against the Australians in both legs of the tour. He cast a shadow over Glenn Maxwell throughout the ODI series, dismissing him in all three games the latter played in. The hoodoo carried over to the T20Is as well, where he got rid of the 'Big Show', while proving to be the ideal foil for Kuldeep from the other end. In the second match, however, he suffered the same fate as Kuldeep, finishing wicketless and conceding 29 runs from three-and-a-half overs.
Kedar Jadhav (5/10): While Jadhav's magic touch with the ball wasn't quite tested in the T20Is, he proved handy with the bat once again, scoring a run-a-ball 27 that turned out to be the top score in a sorry batting performance by the Indians in Guwahati.
Hardik Pandya (5/10): Pandya, who was talismanic in the ODIs with his clean-hitting and wicket-taking abilities, could not quite find his rhythm with the ball in the T20Is. With the bat, however, he put up a decent partnership with Jadhav in Guwahati that saved the hosts from the embarrassing prospect of getting shot out for less than 100. It was an innings that saw him play according to the situation, steady at first while attempting to shift gears later, though he was dismissed on 25 while trying to clear the rope.
Virat Kohli (4/10): The Indian skipper's form hit a rough patch after his 92 in Kolkata. While his 14-ball 22 led the way in India's successful rain-curtailed chase in Ranchi, leading to some hope of a big score from Kohli's bat, he fell for a two-ball duck in the subsequent game.
Shikhar Dhawan (3/10): Dhawan returned to the side after missing out on the ODIs to be with his wife who was unwell. An unbeaten 11 in Ranchi comprised a couple of exquisite strokes, but his blip at Guwahati is what brings his rating down. Dhawan spent 25 minutes at the crease in the second game, scoring only two runs from six deliveries before becoming one of Behrendorff's four victims on the evening.
MS Dhoni (3/10): Ranchi's favourite son did not get the chance to entertain his home crowd in the first T20I, as Kohli walked out to bat in the 48-run chase amid chants of 'Dhoni! Dhoni'. The next game saw Dhoni building a steady partnership with Kedar Jadhav after India were reduced to 27/4 at one stage. The former skipper was starting to find his touch when he was foxed by Adam Zampa off successive deliveries, getting stumped on the second occasion.
Rohit Sharma (2/10): Rohit got terrific starts in both games, only to be followed immediately by disappointing dismissals. He indulged in some clean hitting on both occasions, collecting a total of 19 runs from 11 deliveries — 14 of which were scored in boundaries. However, he couldn't convert these starts.
Manish Pandey (2/10): After a lukewarm outing in the ODIs, in which an unbeaten 36 in a successful run-chase was his only noteworthy performance, Pandey barely made any contribution in the T20Is, being dismissed for six in the only game that he got a chance to bat in.
Note: Ashish Nehra, KL Rahul, Dinesh Karthik and Axar Patel have not been mentioned in this list as they did not get a single game in the T20I series.